Haveeru Daily

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Haveeru
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid size
Owner(s) Mohamed Zahir Hussain
Editor Moosa Latheef
Founded January 1, 1979
Headquarters Malé, Maldives
Website http://www.haveeru.com.mv/

Haveeru Daily (Dhivehi: ހަވީރ ދުވަހު ނޫސް) was the longest serving daily newspaper in the Maldives, established on January 1, 1979.[citation needed]

History[edit]

When local newspaper Moonlight ceased publication on December 9, 1978, Haveeru was registered on December 28, 1978, to fill the gap created by the absence of a newspaper. The first issue of Haveeru was brought out on January 1, 1979, under the proprietorship of Mohamed Zuhir Hussain, who is a close friend of the President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and has been serving Minister level positions of the government since 1978

The name[edit]

The name Haveeru symbolises the onset of the cool evening time after the heat of the day, which is also the time when the newspaper is brought out. In Dhivehi literature, "haveeru kurun" means the get-together of poets and writers for literary exchanges. Thus, it was decided that the newspaper's name should also symbolise news, information and literary learning.

Haveeru Daily is the longest serving daily newspaper in Maldives, which marked its 20th anniversary on 1 January 1999.

Haveeru is the first newspaper to be printed by offset.[citation needed] The newspaper's efforts at getting its own printing press dates as far back as 1 April 1981, when a private printer declined to publish the newspaper.

With just a break of one day, seen by many as an April Fools' Day joke, Haveeru rolled off from another press, but this time not in offset, but hand-written on stencils for cyclostyling. The page size was 30x42 cm. The newspaper first rolled off Haveeru's own offset press on 1 September 1986, with a new enlarged size of 38x55cm. The size was later increased to 42.5x60.5 cm on 1 January 1994.

Many technical setbacks have been overcome with innovation and automation. Haveeru is the first Maldives newspaper to be computerised, in 1985.[citation needed] In also another first, Haveeru began to use Thaana typewriters and Thaana word processors.[citation needed]

The United Nations Environment programme bestowed its Global 500 environmental honour on Haveeru's photojournalist Mohamed Zahir following a series of environmental articles published in Haveeru, which he wrote under the initials "Meemu Zaviyani".[citation needed]

Haveeru is the first newspaper in Maldives to link up with a foreign news agency, the first such link-up being in Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in 1985. However, the use of radioteletype receivers was not then a successful venture as news reception was often disrupted by unstable weather. Hence, Haveeru turned towards satellite communications, and the newspaper became the first Maldives daily to establish links—via satellite—to get news and information for the print media.[citation needed]

Haveeru also linked up with Agence France-Presse (AFP) in 1992. It was followed by another link-up with Reuters news agency in 1994.

In May 1998, Haveeru established Haveeru Addu Bureau at Addu atoll Feydhoo Island, the first regional news centre by a Maldives newspaper. Two full-time journalists are stationed there to cover events in the southern atolls, and reporting is carried out by sending information via the World Wide Web.

Civil Court on Saturday (2 April 2016) also that Haveeru shut down its online news website as well as all other branches of the company – which’s ownership is being disputed over.

Civil Court sent a letter to Chairman of Haveeru, Dr. Mohamed Zahir Hussein, saying that Haveeru needs to comply with the order issued by the court to temporarily halt all of the company’s operations which includes using the logo of the company or publishing anything under the name of Haveeru unless in accordance with the procedure stated in the court order; so that the trial remains fair and just.

High Court ruled last September that Haveeru News Agency wasn’t just the company’s chairman Dr. Mohamed Zahir Hussain’s. And that Farooq Hassan from G. Kokkiri and Ibrahim Rasheed Moosa from H. Meerubahuru also had a stake in the company.

Court had ordered Haveeru to pay Farooq and Ibrahim Rasheed one fourth of the profit made by the company to date, each.

Civil Court issued the order for a temporary halt to Haveeru operations on Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed by Farooq and Ibrahim Rasheed.

Court ordered a halt to all bank transactions from any of the company’s accounts, and to halt any operation by the company without the involvement of Farooq and Ibrahim Rasheed until the ownership issue was resolved in court.

Haveeru News Agency said that Haveeru Online News would remain operational as the order did not affect it.

Civil Court said that they issued the order based on the damage to Farooq and Ibrahim Rasheed – who hold a combined share of 50 percent, while Zahir from H. Neel Villa holds only 25 percent. Adding that Farooq and Ibrahim Rasheed had the right to request for a temporary halt to Haveeru operations.

High Court had ruled earlier that an agreement had been made between four individuals to set up Haveeru News Agency. And that all four founding members had a stake in the company even now.

The fourth shareholder is Mohamed Naeem from H. Timeless.

The court had said that Farooq and Ibrahim Rasheed still had a stake in the company despite Haveeru News Agency and all subsidiary companies having been renamed.

Haveeru Online News is a media publication run by Haveeru Media Group – a company registered under the name of Zahir’s three children – Lubna Zahir Hussein, Leena Zahir Hussein and Vail Zahir Hussein.

Haveeru Online was mostly shut down due to the political influence of President Abdulla Yamin.

Legal Disputes[edit]

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)[1] on Monday voiced grave concern over the blatant violation of rights in the court verdict banning the staff of the archipelago’s oldest newspaper from working for any other media outlet.

Civil Court on Sunday concluded a legal dispute over the ownership of the country’s oldest newspaper Haveeru and associated media, barring all employees of Haveeru Media Group from working at any media outlet in the country for two years. MDP in a statement described the verdict in clear violation of the constitution as a “mockery” of justice. The judge had also ruled based on assumptions that were not entailed in the employment contracts, MDP said. Article 37(a) of the constitution states that every citizen has the right to engage in any employment or occupation. The constitution also prohibits slavery and forced labour.

The statement also accused the courts of issuing verdicts in stark contradiction of the laws governing the country which undermines and violates the rights of journalists and the people. “President Yameen’s government has continued to be an obstacle to reforming and ensuring the freedom of the judiciary,” the statement in local language Dhivehi read. The judge invoked a maxim in Islamic jurisprudence on preventing damage to justify the ban. He also ordered the home ministry, the broadcasting commission, and other state institutions to take action against former staff working at other media organisations within seven days upon request by the majority shareholders. The verdict has also sparked public outcry and condemnation and has been described as a violation of the constitution which provided further proof of the continued government crackdown on media freedom in the archipelago.

Haveeru shut down its operations in March following a Civil Court order to involve the plaintiffs in its management, including in the making of editorial decisions and financial transactions. “The latest verdict by the Civil Court is in direct violation of fundamental human rights enshrined in the constitution. Barring anyone from working at a place of their choosing infringes on their right to work. The Civil Court, in issuing its verdict, has once again overlooked the rights as well as the plight of more than 50 employees and their families,” Mihaaru said in a statement shortly after the verdict. “The Civil Court’s verdict effectively shuts down the operations of Mihaaru, the only newspaper in circulation. This is an act of aggression by the state towards independent and free media in the Maldives, and is part of the government’s unprecedented crackdown on media freedom which has seen the shutdown of four newspapers and online news services over the course of six months.” The judge invoked a maxim in Islamic jurisprudence on preventing damage to justify the ban. Haveeru was shut down in March after its three new shareholders sued the paper’s founder, Dr Mohamed Zahir Hussain, for a share of assets and profits for the past 35 years. The lawsuit followed a controversial High Court ruling last year that split the paper’s ownership four ways. The appellate court awarded three former editorial staff a controlling stake based on a copy of a 1983 agreement.After the lawsuit was filed in February, Haleem ordered the paper on April 2 to involve Farooq Hassan, Ibrahim Rasheed Moosa, and Mohamed Naeem in its management, including a role in making of editorial decisions and financial transactions.

However, in lieu of involving the new shareholders, the Haveeru Media Group – owned by Zahir’s three children – closed the paper and took its website offline. In 3 July 2016’s judgment, the judge ordered the Haveeru Media Group and relevant state authorities to transfer the newspaper, its online version, archive, its printing press, and other business interests related to the brand to the majority shareholders.

He also ordered the registrar of companies to change the name of the Haveeru Media Group within seven days. Zahir was ordered to revive and continue the Haveeru newspaper, website, and printing press in accordance with the wishes of the majority shareholders. The judge also ordered Zahir to audit Haveeru and to offer the other three owners their share.

Attorney General (Attorney General and Acting home minister Mohamed Anil) on 7 July 2016 labelled the two year media ban imposed on former staff the now defunct Haveeru newspaper as unconstitutional before announcing the decision to appeal the verdict. Civil Court concluded a legal dispute over the ownership of the country’s oldest newspaper Haveeru and associated media, barring all employees of Haveeru Media Group from working at any media outlet in the country for two years. The verdict has been widely regarded as an attempt to close the Mihaaru newspaper launched by the staff following the forced closure of Haveeru.

The two-year ban on Mihaaru journalists was imposed in the final verdict of the ownership lawsuit who worked for Haveeru from February this year. The judge invoked a maxim in Islamic jurisprudence on preventing damage to justify the ban. He also ordered the home ministry, the broadcasting commission, and other state institutions to take action against former staff working at other media organisations within seven days upon request by the majority shareholders. The AG office in a press release said the appeal would be primarily based on the order to the authorities to enforce the ban which was clearly in violation of the constitution. “The home ministry nor any other state institution has the legal authority to prevent any individual from being employed anywhere of his or her choosing,” the statement in local language Dhivehi read. The statement also noted that the court had clearly denied the ex-Haveeru staff as a third party in the case to have a say which was in violation of the constitution and “Audi alteram partem.”

The decision for the state initiated appeal came after the civil court reprimanded the Attorney General for saying that the home ministry, by law would not be able to take any action against the Haveeru staff despite the court order. “As far as I can see this a civil case. So the defendant has the right for appeal. But as the home ministry is now involved, all I can tell you is that in light of the constitution and the laws, we [home ministry] cannot take any action against the staff even if they work for any other media organisation,” Attorney General Mohamed Anil had said earlier.

However, in a fresh ruling on Monday, the civil court countered the Attorney General’s statement ruling that it was null and void. “All state institutions are obligated to comply and immediately enforce a court ruling until it is overruled by a higher court,” the ruling read.

Meanwhile, Over 30 staff formerly employed by Haveeru had filed an appeal of the verdict at the High Court citing that the verdict clearly violated constitutional rights. The case had also voiced concern over the civil court’s blatant disregard to the employee contracts made with Haveeru which had no clause barring its staff from working for other media outlets.[2]

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